7
Self-Determination Theory
of Intrinsic Motivation: Meeting
Students' Needs for Autonomy,
Competence, and Relatedness

That children can be regulated by external constraints and controls is without dispute. The question is whether this describes the atmosphere and goals of education to which we as educators, and as a culture, aspire.

An alternative perspective, more complex and subtle than the one just described, considers the motivation to learn to be a developmental issue. While learning can be wholly controlled and prompted from the outside (i.e., externally regulated), the goal of education is, from the alternative view, the development of self-regulation for learning. This is conceptualized as a movement away from heteronomy and toward autonomy in the acquisition of knowledge, away from reliance on others for the incentives to learn and toward internal satisfaction with accomplishment and the learning process itself.

—Ryan, Connell, and Grolnick (1992, p. 168)


CONNECTING WITH STUDENTS' EXISTING
INTRINSIC MOTIVATION

The extrinsic motivation strategies described in chapter 6 are designed to stimulate students to engage in classroom activities effortfully because completing these activities successfully will bring them valued rewards. When motivation is purely extrinsic, the activity itself is not valued except as an instrument that students can use to obtain rewards that they do value. In contrast, intrinsic motivational strategies apply when students value (or can learn to value) participation in the activity itself. These strategies are based on the idea that teachers should emphasize academic activities that

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